A Prosthetist provides prostheses to meet the needs of their patient who has lost a limb through amputation, or were born with a limb missing.
As a Prosthetist, you would work closely with the patient to understand their needs and ambitions. For example, some prostheses are specially designed for a particular use or activity, such as sports. After measuring the patient, you would make a model of the remaining limb where the artificial limb will be fitted. You would then fit the prosthesis once it has been made, to ensure comfort and performance. Working with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, you’ll provide advice to ensure the patient receives appropriate rehabilitation and aftercare support.
An Orthotist provides a range of aids to correct problems or deformities of patients' nerves, muscles or bones.
As an Orthotist, you would assess your patient’s condition in order to design and fit orthoses to aid movement, stop deformities from progressing, or relieve discomfort. Orthotists will treat the patient from head to toe for a variety of presentations including:
- back pain
- knee pain
- sports related injuries
- foot pain
- limb or spinal deformity
Using measurements, casts, drafts, digital imaging techniques, computer aided design and computer aided modeling, you would design and fit surgical appliances such as braces, calipers, neck collars and splints.
As a Prosthetist or Orthotist, you may work with people who have conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cerebral palsy or those recovering from a brain injury or stroke.
Your main responsibilities include:
- assessing a patient's needs and taking measurements
- fitting artificial limbs or surgical devices
- using the latest techniques and technologies to design prostheses or orthoses
- explaining designs to orthotic/prosthetic technicians so the final product can be produced
- following up with patients to see how they are coping with their device
- carrying out assessments to ensure the device or limb is functioning properly
- making adjustments or repairs if needed